New Car Registrations Lower Than Pre-Pandemic Numbers, But Recovering Rapidly

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New Car Registrations Lower Than Pre-Pandemic Numbers, But Recovering Rapidly

09 June 2021

The Central Statistics Office (CSO) has published Vehicle Licensing figures for May 2021. These figures are based on the National Vehicle and Driver File compiled by the Department of Transport. The figures show a 20% decrease in May 2021 compared to May 2019, but car registrations are recovering rapidly.

However, the publication shows that the number of new cars licensed for the first time in May 2021 was 7,337 compared with 1,490 in May 2020, an increase of 5,847 more cars.

Commenting on the data, Dr Nele van der Wielen, Statistician, said, “today’s figures from the CSO show the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on vehicle licensing in Ireland. Despite significant recovery from the immediate impact of initial lockdowns in May 2020, the number of vehicles licensed remains lower than pre-COVID-19 (May 2019) figures. The number of new cars licensed in May 2021 rose by 5,847 vehicles compared with May 2020, but this still represents a 20% decrease on the numbers of new cars licensed in May 2019.”

“Looking at the first five months of 2021, a total of 54,843 new private cars were licensed, an increase of 17% compared with the same period last year. The number of used (imported) private cars licensed increased by 49% compared with the same period in 2020.”

Further commenting on the results, Dr Nele van der Wielen, said, “the figures further show the increasing popularity of new electric and hybrid cars. Almost a third (32%) of all new cars licensed in the first five months of 2021 were electric and hybrid cars, compared with less than a fifth (19%) of new cars licensed in the first five months of 2020.”

The key points from the report are:

  • The number of new cars licensed in May 2021 rose by 5,847 vehicles compared with May 2020, showing car registrations are recovering rapidly, but there were 1,789 fewer vehicles than May 2019.
  • In the first five months of 2021, 13% of all new cars licensed for the first time were electric or plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEV) compared to 6% in the first five months of 2020.
  • The combined number of new electric and hybrid cars licensed in the first five months of 2021 was 98% greater than those licensed in the same period in 2020.
  • There was an increase of 5,256 in the number of used private cars licensed in May 2021 compared with May 2020 but there were 2,636 fewer used private cars licensed than May 2019.

Source: Central Statistics Office

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